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Cookbook Review: Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu

Must Read: Field Guide to Candy

With tomorrow being Halloween, we've unofficially opened the Pandora's Box that is Fall sweets season. That's why the Field Guide to Candy (
$16) couldn't have come at a better time. Pastry chef Anita Chu, who authored the Field Guide to Cookies, has come out with a second book, which promises to teach you "how to identify and make virtually every candy imaginable." Does it live up to its promise? To find out, keep reading.

Pros:

  • Candy history, serving suggestions, and storage tips set the stage for each recipe.
  • Carefully organized book classifies candies into useful categories, and provides candy-making resources, helpful substitutions, and candy-making notes.
  • The book includes a range of regionally and ethnically diverse, intriguing confections, such as Turkish delight, dulce de leche, Chinese date-walnut candy, mochi, marzipan, and Oklahoma brown candy.

Cons:

  • Generally speaking, candy making is tricky, and this abbreviated pocket guide isn't ideal for beginners. Crucial issues for beginners, such as tips for evenly coating nuts in chocolate, aren't addressed.
  • Like other books in the series, this tome feels tightly bound and tiny, and fails to include instructional photographs.

Recipes: Chu walks readers through more than 100 different sweet courses, including:

  • Candy corn
  • Maple candy
  • Jordan almonds
  • Jasmine tea chocolates
  • Fleur de sel caramels dipped in dark chocolate

Imagery: A full-color pictorial index helps you visualize what each and every candy should look like. Confections are gorgeously shot and styled.

Overall Rating: This is an exhaustive compilation of favorite confections, with tantalizing photographs and useful background information. It isn't an entry book for beginners, but would be a solid purchase for candy making enthusiasts.

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